A Bold Plan – Part 1

As the train first rolled out of my local station, the only thing I could think about was Iron Maiden’s Wildest Dreams, the chorus of which repeats “I’m on my way” over and over, to a backing of heavy metal thunder. I sat hoping that that would be the only thunder I was going to encounter on this trip.

I had been planning this for some time, although only the night before had I finally committed to my route – after a quick stay at my favourite campsite I was going to ascend on to Kinder scout, and walk the complete circuit, photographing as I went, and make a wild overnight stop on Crookstone Knoll, before charging back to Edale for the train in the morning. Quite a high intensity route given the amount of equipment I would be carrying, but I would have all day, and no real time pressures given that I was going to camp out on the peak anyway. Now I was finally on the way, having made my first change, and now thundering (bugger, I’ve already encountered more thunder!) towards Sheffield on an East Midlands special. There’s something quite wonderful about having a full pack of gear on your back, well, two things actually: you feel quite empowered; a sense of nomadic freedom coming from knowing you have everything you need to be perfectly comfortable for a couple of days; and also everyone stares at you as though you are quite clearly made. It’s as if the city dwellers I find myself surrounded by these days (to be fair, this is largely my own fault for living in a city…) genuinely do think that the moment you leave the urban environment, Death himself leaps out from behind every bush, tree, or other suitable leapy-outy place, and starts having a go with the scythe. There were several on the train around me, one young lady in particular I noticed kept looking at my boots, very worn and mudstained now, with a look of almost pained horror, while her foot wear was clearly for looks rather than practical use. Inside my head I couldn’t help but chuckle at how drastically different we appeared to be.

There are some genuine dangers though, and the news of late has seen too many tragic stories of people having some terrible accident while enjoying the great outdoors. It’s partly why I had so much equipment with me: survival bags, first aid kits, pocket knife and backup pocket knife, 3 different ways of making water that I find on the hill safe for drinking – I am a terrible over-preparer! So, there I was, all of my equipment on my back, charging across the English midlands to Edale, for an adventure that I had been planning for some time. I was excited, but also nervous; plans like this have a tendency to fail…

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